Bluetooth, the wireless technology that enables you to create a wireless connection between two devices, is more useful than you might think. In most cases people use Bluetooth technology for connecting their smartphone or computer with an audio device for wireless audio transmission.
However, Bluetooth (which is now in its 5th iteration and has existed since 1998) has actually grown into a pretty universal technology. Here are some great uses for Bluetooth other than wireless audio transmission.
Also read: What Is Bluetooth and How Does It Work?
1. Remote Controls
For years, Bluetooth has been wrestling with good old-fashioned IR (infrared) technology as the main means by which we control our TVs, music systems and so on. And while Bluetooth hasn't become the most popular means, it does have some advantages.
First of all, Bluetooth is a faster and more responsive connection type than infrared. Secondly, that whole thing of pointing your remote at the right part of the TV (that may be blocked by some annoying object) doesn't apply with Bluetooth, which doesn't need line of sight to work.
On the other hand, Bluetooth is a more expensive and battery-consuming technology than infrared, so you won't see it everywhere. However, it's a nice luxury to have.
2. Bluetooth Tethering
A few months back, I was surprised to find out I could tether my smartphone to my PC using Bluetooth (and cable too, actually). I am sure many of you will be surprised as well. Tethering is a process of sharing the mobile data or Wi-Fi connection of your smartphone with your desktop PC or laptop.
Most commonly, this is done using Wi-Fi (for laptops) or a cable connection (for desktops), but there is also an option for Bluetooth connection in the same menu. You can use this option to tether your smartphone to a Bluetooth enabled PC – preferably a desktop PC with a Bluetooth radio device connected. You can easily find one on Amazon.
3. Transfer Files Between Two Devices
You already know that you can transfer files between two smartphones using Bluetooth; the good old cellphone (aka dumbphone) users surely know. However, you can also connect your smartphone with your Bluetooth-enabled PC to exchange files. Two Bluetooth enabled PCs can also connect with each other for transferring files. It might not be as fast as a cable connection but can be a good replacement when you don’t have a cable with you.
4. Play Multiplayer Mobile Games Over Bluetooth
App stores are full of multiplayer games to be played over an Internet connection, but did you know there are many multiplayer games that can be played over Bluetooth? It is quite fun to go one-on-one against your best pal while in person, though admittedly if you can play over a regular network connection then you'll probably be better off.
You can find Bluetooth-based games on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store – some of the titles are listed below - though the number of Bluetooth-enabled games is steadily decreasing due to the better stability offered by alternatives like Wi-Fi and 5G.
5. Connect Different Devices
As Bluetooth’s main purpose is to create a wireless connection between two devices, there are many devices that can be connected using Bluetooth.
Some of the devices include:
- Mouse: There are many Bluetooth mice that will easily connect with your PC, tablet and even smartphone using Bluetooth.
- Keyboard: Bluetooth keyboards are also available for wireless Bluetooth connection with your PC, tablet and smartphone. They are a good solution for using a full physical keyboard with your smartphone.
- Printers: Many Wi-Fi-enabled printers also come with Bluetooth connection to wirelessly print documents when you are near the printer.
- Bluetooth Gamepads: Bluetooth gamepads, like Playstation controllers, use Bluetooth connection to connect with the console. This also enables them to connect directly with other Bluetooth-enabled devices like a PC, tablet or smartphone to play supported games. For example, you can connect your Playstation controller to your Android phone to play PSP games on Android
6. Control Smart Home Systems
Many smart home devices come with Bluetooth support to control them wirelessly. The Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, for instance, use Bluetooth to connect with your phone from which you can then control their various connections, Skills and Routines. Many smart home devices work on much the same basis.
Then there's home security stuff, such as how you can use your smartphone to lock or unlock your doors (no need for a key). Some alarm systems also come with Bluetooth integration.
7. Bluetooth and Cars
Bluetooth and cars go really well together, but apart from making hands-free calls, you can do many other things with the right device and setup. Some of the things you can do include listen to smartphone music from car speakers, narrate and listen to text messages aloud, and tether a smartphone with a car’s navigation system to get live updates using mobile data.
Bluetooth might seem like an old technology, but it has many uses that will help it stay in the market and in the quick access menu of our smartphones. If you want to keep learning about the world of tech, then you'd do well to learn about Log4Shell and how to protect yourself from it. Or, for something a little lighter, the best Linux games in 2022.
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